Connecticut to license freestanding birth centers

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill into law July 24 that will license all freestanding birth centers allowing them to more seamlessly operate throughout the state, according to a news release.

"This new law will help combat gaps in access to maternal health care that are preventing patients from receiving the care they need," Mr. Lamont said in a statement. "These birth centers can open and operate independently, creating an alternative that makes accessing this essential care easier and more convenient and giving parents more choices on where to receive their birthing care."

When the legislation was introduced in the state's house and senate, it passed unanimously both times, according to the release.

The signing of the law comes as multiple reports from agencies including the CDC, the World Health Organization and many others have cited that maternal mortality continues to be an ongoing crisis, often worse for mothers of color. At the same time, birth centers and maternity units across the U.S. are continuing to close at high rates, leaving areas without access to needed care.

Connecticut's new law aims to make the situation better in the state and will prioritize four key aspects: 

  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health will oversee the licensing of all birth centers.

  • The law forbids the establishment or operation of a birth center unless it obtains a license from the state.

  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health has created a doula certification program, which it will oversee.

  • The law directs the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to establish a program for home visits from nurses across the state to aid with care and services early after an infant is born.

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